The excitement is back at Aggie Stadium.
On the same day Eastern Washington racked up 651 yards against Sacramento State, the UC Davis Aggies were rolling past North Dakota to the tune of … wait for it … 651 yards.
Numbers like that are nothing new in Cheney, where the Eagles are known for explosive offenses.
But at Davis? Not so much. Saturday’s output was the Aggies’ biggest since putting up 658 yards against New Mexico Highlands in 2001.
More important, Davis also beat Big Sky Conference preseason favorite North Dakota by a score of 48-24 in front of a crowd of 9,058 at Aggie Stadium.
Next up is 10th-ranked Eastern Washington (3-2 overall, 2-0 in the Big Sky), which plays at Davis on Saturday night.
“When you get this type of support behind you, it is a real game-changer,” said Aggies sophomore quarterback Jake Maier, whose team was picked 11th out of 13 teams in the the Big Sky preseason polls.
“When this place is rocking like it was tonight, it helps us compete with confidence.”
The Aggies (3-2 overall, 1-0 in the Big Sky under new coach Dan Hawkins) certainly did that on Saturday. Maier completed 33 of 38 passes for a career-high 415 yards. Eleven completions went to junior wide receiver Keelan Doss, who finished with 199 yards.
Maier, who has passed for 300 yards in four of his five starts, is tied for sixth on the school’s single-game passing chart with J.T. O’Sullivan, who had 415 yards at Cal Poly in 2000.
Those are modest numbers for EWU quarterback Gage Gubrud, who on Monday won the Big Sky Offensive Player of the Week award for the third straight week.
Last week against Sacramento State, Gubrud completed 35 of 50 passes as he finished with 447 passing yards and five touchdowns – his third consecutive game with at least 399. It was the 14th 300-yard performance of Gubrud’s 22-game Eastern career.
Eastern’s 651 yards rank seventh in school history.
Since joining the Big Sky as a football-only member in 2012, Davis is 14-28 in league games while Eastern is 37-5. The Eagles have won all three meetings since then, but struggled in all three.
In 2012, Eastern trailed by double digits in the second half before blocking a late field goal and winning 31-28. Two years later, in Davis, the Eagles led just 9-7 at the half before pulling away.
Last year in Cheney, Eastern was down 23-14 at intermission, but reeled off 49 points in the second half to win 63-30.
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